I tracked down my favorite meme: the hot pink bitch named breakfast!! He was born at a Wendy's, he's a punk rock groupie, and he's living out his golden years in Western Massachusetts (and doggie diapers). More in @DefectorMedia
— Annie? Rauwerda? (@anniierau) October 27, 2022
Before y’all get judgey, I once dyed my first dog glitter blue for his doggy obedience-class Halloween party. He didn’t find the dye (which washed out right afterward) nearly as annoying as the strap-on butterfly wings and the light-up deelybobbers… he was a Papillon! (And a bodhisattva, but that’s a longer story.)
“This hot pink bitch was named breakfast!!!” is a string of words and punctuation that’s just barely coherent enough to communicate its subject matter (a magenta dog that is named after a meal) and just crazed enough to inspire intense devotion. The sentence was written, possibly for the first time in history, in a March 22, 2018, post to “Dogspotting” by Katie Dawson along with a blurry snap of a roseate Pomeranian.
In Dogspotting, the 1.8 million-member Facebook group, people post pictures of dogs they’ve spotted and assign them semi-arbitrary point value. It was a mid-2010s internet triumph: one of those rare low-stakes, positivity-only outposts on an increasingly sour and combative internet…
But Breakfast is, at least by the standards of viral animals, underexposed. Unique among internet-famous pets, Breakfast has no curated online presence, no brand deals, no intention to be anything other than a hot pink bitch. Breakfast presumably doesn’t even know they are hot pink, as dogs are colorblind and pink is not a color they see.
A few weeks ago, after I saw a periodic repost of the photo, I realized that the photo was four years old, and that’s about 30 percent of a Pomeranian’s lifespan, which made me sick with fear that Breakfast might have died. I’d lose my breakfast if I lost my Breakfast!
So I cracked my knuckles, opened a new tab, and started my quest for Breakfast. First, I tracked down Katie, Breakfast’s original spotter who now lives in Arlington, Va., and works in partnerships at a philanthropy organization. The Dogspotting Facebook group has an ironclad rule against posting dogs you know, so it was unlikely that Katie and Breakfast had a long-established relationship, but I hoped that maybe she had stayed in touch with the dog’s owners. I mean, they’d presumably struck up a conversation when they told her Breakfast’s name. I pestered Katie with a few messages and eventually she replied to say that she did not know Breakfast’s whereabouts. “Pretty wild that I still get people reaching out about this when I took that picture close to five years ago,” she added, making it clear that she’d moved on. I, unfortunately, had not…
We asked each other, “If you were a hot pink bitch named Breakfast, where would you be?” The answer, instantly obvious, is Instagram. Reed and I looked through the hashtags #breakfastdog and #breakfastthedog, which turned out to be mostly galleries of egg-topped hot dogs or dogs eating bacon, until we found one blurry shot of a Pomeranian by a couch. A bit of sleuthing revealed that Breakfast’s owners had been in an NYC-based punk band—making them the exact type of people you’d expect to dye a dog hot pink, I suppose. Soon enough, I was on the phone with them.
“We got him in 2012 and first dyed him pink in 2013,” Sofia, 33, told me while she was making dinner for her human toddler. In this moment, I realized that Breakfast was a he—a hot pink bro, as it turns out…
… In 2012, Sofia and Johnny, now 43, had been partying at a house with a Pomeranian and impulsively decided to buy their own the next day. They followed a Craigslist lead to East New York where they met a teenager who described her unstable living environment and desperation to rehome the dog. “She told us that Breakfast was born at a Wendy’s,” Johnny said. They took him home and changed his name from Coco to Breakfast, which Johnny had been saving for years: “He’s just a very important man who goes with a very important meal,” he explained. (Despite the sentiment, Johnny does not regularly eat breakfast.) Eventually, though, they came around on the name Coco. “Ironically,” Johnny told me, “that’s what we ended up naming our daughter.”
The young Breakfast was so malnourished he could only walk for 20 feet at a time. “His legs were tiny macaronis,” Johnny remembered. But after a healthy diet and regular exercise, he got stronger, and after a few months, they decided to dye him pink.
Why, I asked, which felt to me like an obvious question. To which Johnny asked a question of his own: “Where does anyone get their ideas?” Fair enough. “It’s punk rock, fuck it!” he added…
Rescue pets, truly the best. More details & (not enough) photos at the link. Stay fabulous, Breakfast!
I really wish I could have witnessed this. pic.twitter.com/OUcN0AEMts
— Endless Tussle (@shampeon) October 27, 2022